Lifestyle & Belief

Botanist accuses Bank of Canada of using 'wrong' maple leaf on new notes


A new $20 note next to the Canadian and Norwegian maple leaves.


Sky News

The Bank of Canada has mistakenly used a Norwegian maple leaf, imported from Europe, on its new bank notes, plant experts claim.

Reuters cited Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre botanist Sean Blaney as highlighting the difference between the leaf on new $20, $50 and $100 notes and the native North American sugar maple: 

"It's really hard to deny the image is of a Norway maple."

Further, Blaney told CBC News that the Norway maple tree, introduced to Canada in the 18th century, was a poor choice of representative plant. 

“It's a species that's invasive in Eastern Canada and is displacing some of our native species, and it's probably not an appropriate species to be putting on our native currency."

However, Canada's central bank said the image was deliberately designed not to represent any particular species.

Bank of Canada currency spokesperson Julie Girard was cited in a Russia Today report as saying:

"It is not a Norway maple leaf. It is a stylized maple leaf and it is what it ought to be."

She added that Bank of Canada had consulted a dendrologist, specializing in trees and shrubs, during the making of the symbol:

"On the advice of this expert, steps were taken to ensure that the design of the leaf in the secondary window is not representative of a Norway maple."

However, the RT report cited another Canadian expert, University of Ottawa professor and Canadian Museum of Nature research scientist Julian Starr, as saying that the image was a Norway maple leaf.

"You can say it’s stylized. But it’s stylized to the point where it doesn’t look like any native species at all. It basically looks like a Norway maple."

The BBC published this interview with Blaney.